Here in the last throes of summer, lunch is sometimes no more than a mound of somen noodles served atop a bed of ice. Somen noodles are thin wheat noodles, as thin as vermicelli, more delicate than buckwheat. Twirled around chopsticks and dipped in a sauce made with soy sauce and dashi, the noodles slide down the throat. They are icy, firm, and rich.
You can find somen noodles at any Chinese, Korean, or Japanese grocery store (not to mention certain overpriced upscale western markets). Somen noodles cook in one to two minutes and can be kept chilled for up to an hour in a bowl of ice water, making preparation hassle-free.